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Sauber distances itself from testing statement

NEWS STORY
19/03/2005

When Sauber allied itself with the other 'rebel' teams in Brazil last year, there was all round shock throughout the paddock and in the media.

The Swiss outfit, which uses Ferrari power-plants, stunned the F1 world when it appeared to line up against its engine provider.

Team boss Peter Sauber was so distraught at having to make the move, he issued a special press release, admitting that the decision had been difficult.

One of the quietest and most diplomatic - typically Swiss? - men in the business, Sauber doesn't like confrontation, nor does he wish to appear to be a troublemaker or ingrate.

Therefore it comes as no surprise that in the wake of the issuing of the statement calling on Ferrari to re-think its attitude towards testing, the Swiss team has moved to distance itself from the row.

In a statement issued today (Saturday), the Swiss outfit said that the statement had been issued without the prior approval of all nine teams.

In the wake of the nine teams' statement, Ross Brawn was highly critical of the decision to allow McLaren to run a third car on Grand Prix Fridays, whilst Jean Todt issued his own statement regarding the Italian team's stance.

Adding a large dollop of gasoline to the smouldering fire, Ron Dennis has suggested that Sauber's decision to distance itself from the row can only mean one thing, that the Swiss outfit is under pressure from its engine supplier, Ferrari.

"Peter's position is very clear and we respect it," he said. "When it comes to an issue such as this, he isn't able to support it in public."

Then again, if, as Sauber is claiming, the statement was released without the approval of all nine teams, could this mean that someone much bigger in the food-chain - but noticeably smaller in stature - is really pulling the strings?

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